Pak Lap Wan - Half of the time we’re gone and we don’t know where - Or the trials of the Dive Marsh
The morning promised a fantastic day and it did not disappoint. It grew hotter, but the wind stayed light and the water was mainly clear. The boat was filled quickly at the appointed time and we left after a short delay and fine words from a rare sight on-board, Candy. We set off with a lucky 8 divers. The weeks of wind and rain have given way to a bit more visibility , we few, we happy few, we band of brothers and sisters; For those today who dive with me, shall be my brother/sister, be they ne’er so vile.
We went left and before you get to the dolo’s we headed into the Bay just past Pak Lap, leaving the arch and swim through to our right looking out to sea. We split into two waves under the all seeing eye of ADM Maddy Sauron and Mr C. Divers withered under her gaze, nervous of the slightest infringement of the DM’s coda. She did manage to throw in a mask as we went to anchor, probably of some slight or infringement upset her. We also had new diver Dan Sun on-board. You have to do this with a Liverpool accent, but there is an old Scouse pick up line “are you dancing”? It goes – “Are you Dan Sun?”, “are you askin?”, “ I’m askin”, “ I’m Dan Sun”. Usually followed by, well I’ll have your seat then.
First wave and Paul headed off with Maddy to look for the mask and Jo took Adrien towards the shore. Adrian was suffering from a slow inflate on his BCD, which wasn’t diagnosed and cured until back on the boat. So even with a bit more weight he was determined to look at the above water scenery. Dive curtailed, a bit of lubrication and reciprocation and the end of his elephants trunk and he was fully restored. Meanwhile no mask was seen, just a big Octopus, big worm things (flat worms – 1 metre long/transparent?) on the sand and some fish.
The bay runs 330/150 with coral at 60 degrees around 5 metres depth to 11 metres and giving way to broken rocks and sand. The middle of the bay was gently sloping sand to 14 metres. There was a long length of abandoned ghost net 2/3rds the way across the bay west towards 240 degrees. Visibility on the day was a good 6-8 metres in patches, but there were patchy areas of lower viz at 2-3 metres. So not bad.
Underneath there were several species of damsel fish, rabbit fish, hatchet fish, small grouper, and at least three species of butterfly fish. There were also crabs, worms, clown and flute fish. The coral is in good shape, with hundreds of Christmas tree worms. For those of us who returned with less than 50 bar, there was waterboarding and electrocution by the ADM.
Dive two and people were now avoiding the hoards who arrived on a large DA dive boat. The noise and silt were a give away if you swam north. Adrien had no more inflator trouble after working his knobs and buttons with his hands. We opted for a bit of coral and a swim across to the swim through. The ghost net was a put off, so we went back to look at the bigger coral heads and the fish hiding in the holes and swim through’s below. There was plenty to see and a good site. Even 40 bar meant we lost a few finger nails and teeth. It was a tough gig, no quarter.
Setting the example for our newest diver, DM “C”, was able to navigate within 3 metres of the stern of the boat. The wrong boat… He was quickly spotted among the brightly coloured wetsuits trying to hide. The eye of Sauron was upon him and soon we were all forced to point at him in case he disappeared. We were finished by 3pm and fizzy was produced to celebrate an anniversary.
Back to Sai Kung and the traffic jam for a minor bump at Marina Cove added another hour to the journey. A good day out, fantastic weather and a great site. Thanks to Andy for organising, to Maddy for organising us even more and everyone for a good day.